Just talking?

David Gurteen raises an interesting question. Why is conversation easy compared to a monologue? A monologue is a much simpler interaction, I talk you listen. Conversation requires all sorts of sophistication in terms of timing etc. (David itemises some of them as well as linking to some academic research(pdf) on this stuff.

As he says, it’s probably not something you’ve thought about much. I am very much in agreement with his concluding challenge:

But the simple answer is that evolution has “wired” our brains for dialogue rather than monologue. If we are “designed” for conversation – not for monologue – then why do we inflict lectures on each other?

I think years of boring schooling has trained us to assume presenting, and being presented to, is somehow a mark of sophistication. I think we miss how unnatural and unsophisticated it really is.

And even that one-in-a-thousand brilliant TED talk probably leads too many of us into the quest for excellent presentations. Which leads us to vainly attend no end of meetings where mostly we fail to meet that standard. Time and again, I want to ask: could we just have a conversation about this?. Maybe leaving out the slightly apologetic “just” word.

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